Reading Is Fun-damental

Do you remember the Reading is Fundamental (RIF) program from elementary school? Oh, the sheer joy of walking into that room full of books and being able to choose one of your very own. This program, as well as great teachers made me an avid reader from a young age.

Then I went to law school. Now when I try to read for pleasure, the pleasure is mostly lost on me. I tend to read with the same forcefulness that I read cases, which isn't necessarily pleasurable.

An attorney posed the question of how to regain reading for pleasure in the ABA Journal. The author of the article expounded on the type of reading lawyers do and the lack of pleasure in reading for fun:
  • The first is that law school entails so much required reading that students who enjoy literature simply lose the habit.
  • Second, most legal writing can't be read closely with any sort of gusto. It's clumsy, verbose and studded with irrelevancies that must be skipped....
  • Third, the hurly-burly of law practice can lead you to feel perpetually behindhand. A chronically impatient reader who feels oppressed by time constraints will rush through—an approach that simply isn't conducive to appreciating literature.
The author states that this is a fairly common malady among lawyers. One of the main recommendations to combat this problem is to continue to read nonlegal material. And listen to books for awhile until it becomes pleasurable again.

Another piece of advice is to read short stories. By digesting pleasurable reading in smaller bits, you can remind yourself what it is that you love about reading.

As a law librarian, I read all day, everyday. I set a goal this year to read at least one "non-work" book per month. I am keeping pace, and I am starting to remember what it is that I love about reading. 


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